In 2014, Women's Aid teamed up with the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre to raise awareness of sexual violence in relationships.
This is not Happily Ever After, a four week long national public awareness campaign funded by Cosc, The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence. It includes outdoor, digital and radio advertising.
The campaign aims to raise awareness that the majority of rape and sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim and to break the taboo of speaking about rape and sexual violence within relationships. It seeks to reinforce that rape, sexual assault, and sexual coercion within a relationship are crimes and to challenge the humiliation, shame, and self-blame victims experience.
We are all familiar with the popular fairy-tale narrative of the happily-ever-after relationship. In this campaign, we are pulling back the cover and shedding light on those relationships where this idea of happily ever after is a myth or a façade, and where there is significant abuse and violence taking place.
Naming sexual violence in relationships as a common experience for women in Ireland is uncomfortable and upsetting.
But unless we as a society can talk about it, the women experiencing such horrific, cruel abuse by the people who are meant to care most for them, will never feel able to speak about it or seek help.
We hope that this national campaign will reach women experiencing sexual coercion, assaut, and rape in their relationships and let them know that they are not alone, and encourage them to talk to someone in confidence on the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 or the Rape Crisis Centre National 24 hour Helpline 1800 77 88 88.